This Republican senator is trying to avoid blame for the 2022 election
Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-largeUpdated: Tue, 29 Nov 2022 23:30:23 GMTSource: CNNIn the final stretch of the midterm elections, President Joe Biden repeatedly blasted Republicans on theAnalysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
Updated: Tue, 29 Nov 2022 23:30:23 GMT
In the final stretch of the midterm elections, President Joe Biden repeatedly blasted Republicans on the issues of Social Security and Medicare.
In a speech delivered in Florida just one week out from the Election Day, Biden said this:
"They're coming after your Social Security and Medicare in a big way. Folks here in Florida, you need to know this. ... Because if your own senator -- Sen. Rick Scott -- I have the brochure here he has.
"He's in charge of electing Republicans to the Senate. He's the head of the campaign. And he laid out a clear plan. He said every five years, Social Security and Medicare would have to be reauthorized."
And now, Scott, who chaired the National Republican Senatorial Committee this cycle, is fighting back, trying to make sure that the history written around the 2022 elections doesn't put the blame for his party's failure to take control of the Senate directly on him.
In an op-ed for the Washington Examiner headlined, "Washington liars will not stop us from rescuing America," Scott goes at not just Biden, but leaders in the Republican Party (cough, Mitch McConnell, cough) who criticized him for offering a detailed plan for what the GOP would do if they won the Senate majority.
Scott argued that while Republicans were effective in criticizing Democrats, they failed to communicate how they would solve the country's problems. Here's Scott:
"And the stunning part is that this is on purpose. That is the current strategy of many Republicans in Washington, to be against the crazy Democrats only and never outline any plans of what we are for or what we will do.
"And if you dare step out of line and suggest that we give people something to vote for, they attack you, and they partner with the Democrats to twist your words and trash you and tell you to be quiet."
That critique is aimed directly at McConnell, who easily beat back a challenge from Scott earlier this month to retain his job as Senate minority leader. McConnell was openly dismissive of Scott's policy plan when the Florida senator initially released it.
"Let me tell you what would not be a part of our agenda," McConnell said in March. "We will not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people, and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years."
Among the many things Scott proposed in his plan to "rescue America" is that all federal legislation -- including government programs like Social Security and Medicare -- would sunset after five years unless Congress specifically re-approved it.
Scott's op-ed is rightly seen as the latest strike in the not-so-cold war between himself and McConnell. Scott has national ambitions -- his quixotic challenge to McConnell makes that point clearly enough -- and knows that he is being blamed in some GOP circles for handing Biden and Democrats a campaign issue with his policy plan.
In case you missed that point, Scott makes it himself.
"My effort to change the way the Senate operates is not over," he pledges in his op-ed, adding: "The old Washington establishment Republican path of never having a vision is over, it's dying. A new wave of bold and aggressive Republicans who will stand up and fight is demanding change from our leaders in Washington."
The Point: Scott isn't about to let himself be the scapegoat for the 2022 election. And he's coming out swinging.